The Portable Son

Overview

Something is off within Peter Traxler. Born and raised in Mississippi in the last quarter of the 20th century, he is sick with nostalgia at 30 for his upper-middle class upbringing. The stories begin with his sexual initiation in a cotton field and follow him and three close friends as they make their blind way through their 20s, as Peter's father dies, his friends establish stable adult versions of themselves, and Peter carries himself from one location to another, trying to locate life as a man. The Portable ...
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Overview

Something is off within Peter Traxler. Born and raised in Mississippi in the last quarter of the 20th century, he is sick with nostalgia at 30 for his upper-middle class upbringing. The stories begin with his sexual initiation in a cotton field and follow him and three close friends as they make their blind way through their 20s, as Peter's father dies, his friends establish stable adult versions of themselves, and Peter carries himself from one location to another, trying to locate life as a man. The Portable Son is a collection of linked short stories in the tradition of early Updike, the Michigan-era Hemingway, and Stuart Dybek-stories of sensitive boys bumbling between friends and women. Here the milieu is the contemporary South-but not the South of degenerate freaks and cartoonish rednecks, but rather the polite, well-behaved South, the South of relentless good manners, the South of Polo shirts and thank you notes, the South that no one else writes about.
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Editorial Reviews

Publishers Weekly
Peter Traxler is missing something. Ever since he left his family, his friends, and his adolescence behind in Jackson, Miss., he’s feeling lost. Despite the outward appearance of success—job, acquaintances, girlfriends—Peter is melancholy, his thoughts returning often to the past: “cotton diving” with his best friend Jeremy; sexual encounters with the local girls; the loss of his father and its impact on his mother; teenage angst bubbling over into semiviolent outbursts. His connection to his old friends is growing weak and distant; “when you’ve been on party manners with so many people for so long, it’s hard not to growl,” he says. Hathcock’s captivating debut collection of nine closely linked stories reads much like a novel. While many take place in the 1990s, the powerful Mississippi setting often feels akin to the American farm culture of the 1950s (at least until Jeremy dresses up like Ricky Martin for Halloween, or Peter’s Dad watches Nash Bridges on TV). The ghosts of the Old South are present throughout, even while the main character’s struggles are distinctively contemporary. It’s all here, the awkwardness of reconnecting with childhood friends, the impossibility of integrating your youth with your adulthood, the longing for home when home is a time and not a place: Hathcock writes haunting, unforgettable stories. (Dec.)
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Product Details

  • ISBN-13: 9780982673485
  • Publisher: Aqueous Books
  • Publication date: 11/30/2011
  • Pages: 232
  • Product dimensions: 6.00 (w) x 9.00 (h) x 0.53 (d)

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